More than 2,600 guns were turned in by Mercer County residents during a state-sponsored gun buyback event held at two churches in Trenton this past Friday and Saturday.

Flickr User Robert Nelson

State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says  a total of 2,604 firearms including 700 guns illegal to own because they feature unlawfully high ammunition capacities, have sawed-off barrels or are otherwise modified were turned in.

The number of guns obtained in the Mercer buyback more than doubled the number taken in last month during a similar, state-sponsored buyback in Camden city for all Camden County residents. At the time, the number of guns collected in Camden set a record for the state.

Are Buybacks Part of the Solution?

“I’m not here today suggesting buybacks are the singular answer,” said Chiesa. “However, there’s no question that buybacks are part of the solution, and we believe that they’re making a difference in New Jersey as evidenced by the 700 illegal firearms collected in this buyback.”

Chiesa said the outpouring by residents determined to sell back their firearms exceeded his expectations, especially in light of the bad weather. He notes that many people who sold back their guns were heard to say they welcomed the opportunity, because they feared their weapons might fall into the hands of children, or that they might be stolen and used in a crime.

“Over the span of just two weekends in two cities we’ve taken upwards of 4,000 firearms – the vast majority of them operable -- out of circulation,” explained Chiesa. “If the turnouts we’ve seen, and the comments we’ve overheard, are any indication, New Jersey citizens are squarely behind this initiative. That’s because they recognize that having fewer guns on the streets can only help us to reduce the number of people being maimed or killed by gun violence.”

Among other weapons, the Mercer buyback brought in:

  • More than 100 sawed-off shotguns
  • Nearly 1,000 handguns
  • Four Tech-9 semi-automatic pistols
  • Two Hi-Point semi-automatic assault rifles like those used in the Columbine shootings
  • A shotgun disguised as a nightstick
  • An antique Uzi
  • Two Thompson sub-machine guns
  • An Egyptian fully-automatic assault rifle
  • A World War II vintage Luger pistol
  • At least three M-1 carbine rifles
  • A 12-gauge shotgun with a “streetsweeper” drum cartridge capable of holding 12 rounds of ammunition
  • A shoulder-firing rocket launcher and a tear-gas/riot gun.